Ice Hockey

World Cup of Hockey; Day 11

Oh what a night! Don’t worry, I’m not breaking out into song, but just reflecting on how good last night was.  

Ever since first visiting Canada in 2006, it has been a dream of mine to watch Ice Hockey in this magnificent country. Having not had the opportunity until now, every game has been simply incredible. Last night, saw two historic Hockey rivals, Russia and Canada go head to head for a place in the final and boy did it live up to expectations.

So today meant that the winner of Sweden vs Europe would take on the host nation for a chance to get their hands on the third World Cup of Hockey. 

‘Read my mind’ has been the alarm for the whole trip so far, paying homage to a The Killers opening night performance. It’s was eight o’clock and time to get up and out of the bed. So I went back to sleep whilst Dean went to the shop. I felt like it was a fair outcome. 

Maybe if the hotel offered outdoor sun lounges we’d have been spending most our spare time on them because again the sun was shining and although a little breezy the weather was bliss. Today’s game was the earliest of the starts, commencing at one o’clock. With the BlueJays hosting the Yankees at the Rodgers Centre again, it was going to be a pretty similar day for us.  

It seemed every Swedish fan had accumulated in our hotel lobby pregame, dressed from head to toe in blue and gold, horns and whistles going off all around, the Swedes were certainly in a buoyant mood. Ralph Kruger, who I must say is one of the most interesting men on the planet, was determined to upset the books and beat the tipped Swedish side. 

A pretty flat first period ended at nil nil. The second period was a little different, Backstrom for Sweden and Gaborik for Europe found the net for their respective sides in a much more offensive period. Playing in front of a heavy number of Swedish fans the atmosphere was surprisingly muted. Europe played an expert defensive game shutting down the passing lanes and allowing Jaroslav Halak to make the saves when needed. Lundqvist was doing the same for the threee crowns as there was little to split the two sides. 

Until moments into the third period, when a quick snapshot through the legs of a Swedish defenceman by Tomas Tatar, proved to be too hot to handle by Lundqvist and a juicy rebound fell nicely for Tatar to follow up and chip over The King. Sweden responded by creating good chances of their own and with under five minutes left on the clock Erik Karlsson let rip from the point and beat Halak low under his pad. With the scores tied at two we headed to overtime. Following NHL guidlines, the knockout competition meant it would be 5 on 5 twenty minute periods of extra Hockey. Not many chances were generated early on, but when it looked like the Swedes had found a way to win the game, Halak stood tall, allowing his forwards to chase down the other end, put the puck on net and fetch out another rebound. Who would it fall to? That man again. First star of the game Tomas Tatar, who seemed to kick the puck forward before slamming it off Lundqvist’s pads and in.

It was all over. Europe would be taking on Canada for the Cup and after their meeting in the group stages ending 4-1 in Canada’s favour it’ll be interesting to see the next couple of fixtures. 

Hockey out the way, it was now time to fill our bellies, to the joy of my Dad….

As my Mum hadn’t made the trip out, we were able to go for a delicious Indian meal. (Samantha hates Indian food) It was delightful. A meat platter for two was enough to feed me for the next week and boy did I feel it afterwords! I’ll be sticking to rice cakes from now on.

Situated on Queens Street in downtown Toronto, the Little Indian as its called seemed to be a very popular choice for the locals. In and amongst many other little road side restaurants, marked second on the list of must eat Indian places in Toronto, it was certainly a good choice, and highly recommended. 

Returning to the hotel with full bellies allowed me to do some star spotting, and with many of the Swedish fans drowning their sorrows with alcohol, I managed to catch sight of a few NHL superstars. Being too polite I refused to ask for a picture, maybe next time if they aren’t with their own families I can grab a quick selfie. 

So tomorrow with rain predicted we might be looking at taking in the Ontario Museum, or maybe the Hockey Hall of Fame, we’re undecided yet so I’m sure you’ll find out what we get up to tomorrow. Night folks x


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